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Consumption-Based Blockchain Accounting of Telecoupled Global Land Resource Debtors and Creditors

Department of Economics, National Chengchi University, Taipei 116, Taiwan
Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 10617, Taiwan
Department of Community Ecology, Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research—UFZ, Theodor-Lieser-Str. 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2018, 5(5), 51;
Submission received: 11 April 2018 / Revised: 3 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 24 April 2018
Since global agricultural trade reflects a ‘telecoupled’ land use network of countries wherein consumption in one country results in flows affecting land use in another country, measuring country-specific resource use along telecoupled socioeconomic and environmental supply chains can provide useful information for efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) [1,2,3]. While land use statistics record how land is economically exploited, assessing resource use tradeoffs with conflicting environmental and economic metrics [4] remains challenging. Yet, sustainability assessments are limited since national accounts often exclude landscape function losses which are induced by economic activities [5], and population growth projections further imply that future assessments will exclude social environmental impacts to prioritize global food needs [6]. Further, stakeholders often lack the enthusiasm to efficiently execute agreed-upon solutions to common environmental problems [7], or worse, the numerous proposed solutions to boost both food production and biodiversity remain ineffective [6] without concerted international efforts. While the United Nations’ System of Environmental and Economic Accounting (SEEA) links biophysical conditions with economic activities to define spatially explicit tradeoffs [4,8], individual countries with distinct land resources for agricultural livelihood still require land use indicators and threshold levels [3] to gauge their progress towards the SDGs. Using blockchain technology for a decentralized immutable public consumption record [9,10,11], with the aim of ensuring trust and engageability, may be advantageous. However, some argue that inefficiencies and ethical issues exist if this method is applied in science [9,10,11]. To secure global land use sustainability, blockchain technology can facilitate the identification of “debtor” and “creditor” countries and ensuring transparent multilateral monetary flows between globally telecoupled land systems. A blockchained record of land use transactions, based on indicators, could be a precursor to a market-based instrument whereby debtor countries’ resource exhaustion and ecosystem service demand translates into equitable reimbursements toward creditor countries’ environmental management program and policy measures.


The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of China, Taiwan, for financially supporting this research under Contract No. 105-2621-M-002-003-MY3.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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MDPI and ACS Style

Lee, H.-L.; Lin, Y.-P.; Petway, J.R.; Settele, J.; Lien, W.-Y. Consumption-Based Blockchain Accounting of Telecoupled Global Land Resource Debtors and Creditors. Environments 2018, 5, 51.

AMA Style

Lee H-L, Lin Y-P, Petway JR, Settele J, Lien W-Y. Consumption-Based Blockchain Accounting of Telecoupled Global Land Resource Debtors and Creditors. Environments. 2018; 5(5):51.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lee, Huey-Lin, Yu-Pin Lin, Joy R. Petway, Josef Settele, and Wan-Yu Lien. 2018. "Consumption-Based Blockchain Accounting of Telecoupled Global Land Resource Debtors and Creditors" Environments 5, no. 5: 51.

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